Lebanon Businessnews News

Ferries route to Saudi Arabia
will start on Friday
Destination: Dhuba
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A cargo ferry will run from the Tripoli port to the Dhuba port in Saudi Arabia for the first time on Friday.

Around 70 trucks will be loaded onto the roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferry, which is owned by the Sea Wise Company. Mohammad Youssef, major shareholder of Sea Wise, said that there will be a trip to Dhuba every ten days.

“There is a large demand for this route, all spaces have been booked by Bekaa and farmers from the North.”

The cost of shipping in a RO-RO to the Dhuba port is $4,500, according to Youssef. This includes the cost of the truck drivers, who may travel along.

The price of the refrigerated trucks is $3,000, according to Ibrahim Tarchichi, Head of the Association of Bekaa Farmers and a local farmer and exporter. The total cost of exporting an agricultural truck to Saudi Arabia will exceed $8,000, including the port fees, compared to $4,000 by land transport.

“It will no longer be feasible to export our products to the Gulf, if shipping costs were to remain high,” said Tarchichi. A ferry holding 60 trucks is equivalent to 1,500 tons of fruits and vegetables.

Local farmers export cherries, peaches, apricots, almonds, and lettuce to Gulf markets. The problem facing exports will lead to a sharp increase in the prices of fruits and vegetables. Tarchichi said that the price of one dunum (1,000 m2) of lettuce has decreased from $1,300 to $400, since last year. The price of Akkar potatoes has decreased from 50 cents to 20 cents.

Ahmad Tamer, General Director of the Port of Tripoli, said that RO-RO ferries run daily from Tripoli to the Mersin port of Turkey.

“The cost of the ferries is high, but this is due to the high cost of passing through the Suez Canal, which exceeds $300,000 per trip,” said Tamer. Exporting through RO-RO ferries to Turkey was a good experience and this success was behind the creation of the new shipping route to the Dhuba port.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
Date Posted: May 13, 2015
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